Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Poo, worms & maggots

Composting and worm farming are environmentally friendly activities that you can try at home.


Composting is nature’s own recycling program. In time, organisms will break down organic materials into rich, dark crumbly compost - nature’s own nutrient-rich fertiliser. Under ‘Gardening Information’ we have a section on composting. Here you will find out what you can and can’t compost, plus you can find out about ‘Sylvester the Digester’, our Vertical Composting Unit.

Worms - they are important and they need feeding!

Worms recycle organic material such as food scraps, garden refuse, mulch and animal manure, turning it into fertiliser and soil conditioner. To encourage worms, at the Royal Botanic Gardens we use many different types of well rotted organic matter as surface mulch on our garden beds - including woodchips, stable manure, and compost from ‘Sylvester the Digester’, our Vertical Composting Unit.

The right poo to use

We use a mixture of hay and horse manure on our gardens. This fantastic material protects the soil from temperature fluctuations, encourages soil organisms like worms and adds fertiliser that the plants use later. Although horse manure is good, you should not add dog or cat manure to your home compost bin.

Worm farming is easy!

You can either buy a worm farm, or make one yourself at home. They are great for turning food scraps into a rich soil-like substance that can be used as a potting mix, or for top-dressing around plants in your garden.

How to make a worm farm

  1. Build a box with holes in the base for drainage - without a base if you are going to put your worm farm in a garden bed.
  2. Cover the box with a lid or a hessian cover.
  3. Add a layer of moist compost, leaves and paper.
  4. Buy red or tiger worms from a worm farm or a nursery.
  5. Spread the worms gently on top of the compost.
  6. Add kitchen waste and compost regularly in small amounts.

What do worms need?

  • Dark, cool, moist conditions - but not too wet.
  • Scraps of food wastes, cut into small pieces, like vegetables, fruit peelings and tea bags.
  • NOT dairy products, meat, fat, bones, citrus, onions or oily foods.
  • NOT too much food at once.

Did you know?

  • Worms can live for 15 years or longer
  • Worm eggs can survive adverse conditions for 10 years or longer
  • Each worm is both male and female (i.e. it is hermaphrodite), however it must mate with a different worm for breeding
  • Worms can travel up to a kilometer to find food
  • A worm can eat its body weight in food each day
  • Worm poo is known as ‘castings’

compost bin

compost materials

worm farm